It's a shame that fruitcake as a species gets such a bad rap. With its two key ingredients--rum and butter--it ought to be a hit. This recipe includes dried fruit, instead of the glowing, candied stuff we've all learned to associate with fruitcake, and is less dense and more cake-like than many fruitcake recipes. It has become a favorite of my friends and family around the holidays (even the skeptical ones), and is delicious by itself, or covered with a layer of almond paste.

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Ingredients

8
Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Soak cherries, mango, cranberries, currants, and citron in 1/4 cup rum for at least 24 hours. Cover tightly, and store at room temperature.

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  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Butter a 6x3-inch round pan or loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.

  • In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; mix into butter and sugar in three batches, alternating with molasses and milk. Stir in soaked fruit and chopped nuts. Scrape batter into prepared pan.

  • Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons rum.

  • Cut out one piece parchment paper and one piece cheesecloth, each large enough to wrap around the cake. Moisten cheesecloth with 1 tablespoon rum. Arrange cheesecloth on top of parchment paper, and unmold cake onto it. Sprinkle top and sides of cake with remaining rum. Wrap the cheesecloth closely to the surface of the cake, then wrap with paper. Place in an airtight tin, and age for at least 10 weeks. If storing longer, douse with additional rum for every 10 weeks of storage.

Partner Tip

Reynolds® parchment can be used for easier cleanup/removal from the pan.

Nutrition Facts

302.3 calories; 2.5 g protein; 33.3 g carbohydrates; 54.1 mg cholesterol; 202.7 mg sodium. Full Nutrition

Reviews (106)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
12/09/2003
My sisters and I always joke about getting Gramma a fruit cake for Christmas. But now gramma requests this one. She loves it. And says that it is better after it sits for a few days. I made her two and she said the second one was better because it had time to ferment. Thanks!!! Read More
(142)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 2 stars
12/23/2012
I guess I'm not sure why this recipe is so popular. I used an egg replacer and it rose fine but the molasses is so strong that it ruined it for me. It's almost like a strong Boston Brown Bread. I will say it was easy but I'm not giving this one to anyone. Read More
(12)
121 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 90
  • 4 star values: 22
  • 3 star values: 3
  • 2 star values: 4
  • 1 star values: 2
Rating: 4 stars
12/09/2003
My sisters and I always joke about getting Gramma a fruit cake for Christmas. But now gramma requests this one. She loves it. And says that it is better after it sits for a few days. I made her two and she said the second one was better because it had time to ferment. Thanks!!! Read More
(142)
Rating: 5 stars
11/05/2007
Karen thanks for standing up for fruitcake!! Indeed this is nothing like the heavy brick of fruitcake that comes in a cardboard box. I've found that the best way to get people to try this delicious cake is to not tell them it's a fruitcake. Call it cake or molasses cake or gingerbread or whatever. Once they try it you can admit the truth-- it's fun to watch the reactions. The only significant change I'd suggest to this fabulous recipe is to let sit for longer if you can. If you can make the cake a year in advance do so. Just store it per the recipe and add a bit rum every month or so and you'll be treated to an amazing dessert when the time is right. Anyone who enjoys this recipe should also consider making Simnel cake typically served at Eastertime. It's a different sort of fruitcake made with marzipan and equally delicious. Additionally I'd suggest substituting Demerara sugar for brown sugar if possible. Demerara sugar isn't much more expensive and it's often found in regular grocery stores next to the other sugars. It is a light brown sugar with larger crystals and it provides a stickier texture and a really rich aroma. Read More
(120)
Rating: 5 stars
12/10/2016
The worst thing about this cake is that it goes so fast. I make this cake every year but now I double it. The first time I made it I was careful to use the exact fruits the recipe called for but now I use the exact measurment for fruit but use my favorite dried fruit. I really love this recipe! Update: I see I reviewed this twelve years ago. I have used a variety of different fruit over the years and it turns out great every time. I must admit one thing though. It's never made it to the ten week mark. I don't know how the aging effects the flavor. I know it's really good the next day and maybe a little better in a week or two. Read More
(105)
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Rating: 5 stars
12/23/2006
Very tasty! This was my first attempt at a fruitcake so I was quite anxious to unvail it and try it after it's 10 weeks of resting. Wow is it good! I respected the recipe in it's measurements but did mess around a bit with the ingredients themselves only because I live in France and certain items are not readily available like dried mango and dried cranberries. I did have dried cherries on hand and I added dried apricots in place of the mango. I also swaped walnuts for the pecans once again an availability issue. But the recipe lends itself nicely to these kinds of modifications. It slices best if chilled a bit then be sure to use a sharp knife. It's not a "pretty" cake but a plate with thin slices nicely arranged accompanied by a pot of strong coffee is a moment to remember! Merry Christmas! Read More
(50)
Rating: 5 stars
11/07/2003
This Christmas cake is absolutely wonderful. I've made several have substituted the mango with Papaya raisins etc. and it still turns out perfect. This is the best all around fruit cake I have ever made. Read More
(36)
Rating: 5 stars
12/25/2004
I didn't have time 70 days to mature only 17 days but the cake came out excellent. My relatives love it. Now I know why the portion is so small because the cake is so rich! Yum Yum. Read More
(33)
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Rating: 5 stars
11/22/2006
I make this every year. It is by far the best recipe I have ever found. I can't always find the dried fruit that it calls for and instead use 3/4 c. of what ever mixed dried fruit that I can find. This definately gets better with age if it lasts that long! Read More
(30)
Rating: 5 stars
12/27/2011
I simply LOVE fruitcake and this fruitcake recipe is simply one of the best I have tried! I used dates dried pineapple dried mangoes dried papaya sultanas dried cranberries dried cherries and just a little bit of candied citron. A few things I did differently was to sprinkle the fruitcakes with brandy plus honey (equal amounts) instead of plain rum while they were still in the pans and I let them cool in the pans covered by a cheese cloth to trap in the steam. This I think made them really moist. I baked a couple of batches on November 1 and brushed the cakes with the brandy and honey every week for four weeks and let them mellow. Two days before Christmas I glazed a few of the cakes with a mixture of pineapple juice and corn syrup which I boiled and simmered till thick and sticky. This was also the time I decorated the tops with some walnuts and additional dates. I purposely omitted adding any nuts into the cake mixture because I was planning to save one or two of the cakes and let it continue to age for Christmas 2012 but at the rate the cakes are disappearing I doubt if the five cakes I made will make it through the New Year. Wow they were so delicious! Read More
(29)
Rating: 5 stars
01/27/2008
this recipe is great! I started making it 2 years ago and now I'm getting orders from impatient friends who are having trouble waiting till x-mas. the only thing I changed is I refuse to put any of that yucky citron in it. what a great recipe! Read More
(26)
Rating: 2 stars
12/23/2012
I guess I'm not sure why this recipe is so popular. I used an egg replacer and it rose fine but the molasses is so strong that it ruined it for me. It's almost like a strong Boston Brown Bread. I will say it was easy but I'm not giving this one to anyone. Read More
(12)